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February 14, 2006

Drowning my sorrows in maple syrup

Thad woke me early this morning to confirm that Paul Hackett threw in the towel in Ohio. Thad is nocturnal. One of the benefits of his atypical circadian rhythm is that it enables me to get a jump on the news cycle. I get a recap of the overnight highlights when he goes to bed. Normally, I just take a little sip of information and go back to sleep. This morning I was too upset to stay in bed.

For some reason, pancakes seemed like the only possible remedy. I'm freelancing near Grand Central Station today, so I decided to try Pershing Square, across the street from Grand Central.

Pershing Square is an obvious tourist/suit trap. The sandwich board advertises "America's Greatest Pancakes." I try not eat anything billed as America's Greatest X. It was a testament to my desperation I committed to paying $11.00 for a short stack with maple syrup, no sides, no nothing.

But you know what? The pancakes were amazing. In fact, they were probably the best pancakes I've ever eaten. They were about five inches in diameter and a quarter of an inch thick, and very evenly browned. The texture was perfect: Slightly chewy on the outside and feathery in the middle. One of the marks of a good pancake is that you can gently tear off bitesized pieces with the tip of your fork. Only the tenderest, fluffiest pancakes pass this test. The maple syrup was indeed real. Unfortunately, my office serves better coffee than Pershing Square.


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They seem awfully thin to me. Mind you, I like my pancakes on the hearty side. Real maple syrup is definitely a must, and not often available at outside establishments.

We get our syrup from Gene's uncle, who taps the trees around his property each year and boils it up in the sugarhouse he built. Everybody in Gene's father's generation of Gauvins seems to have these amazing self-reliant Yankee skills that abruptly died out in our generation.

Hah, ironically my family and I almost went there after we got off the train! So I guess it is a tourist trap. I gotta try those pancackes, though...

I've never liked enjoyed pancakes. Given the choice, I always prefer waffles, or better yet, french toast.

I LOVE pancakes. I make a few pounds of 'em from scratch every Sunday morning. Don't like maple syrup though. It tastes OK, but it is too strong. I like to be able to taste the pancakes. Most people really think of pancakes as an excuse to eat syrup. Philistines!

Oh, the trick to getting them nice and fluffy - you don't need to beat the lumps out of the batter, it isn't gravy.

"Thad woke me early this morning to confirm that Paul Hackett threw in the towel..." On Valentine's Day?
As for pancakes: buckwheat, please, with honey.

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